Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Hon-Ying Amie Tsang
Hearing 10-12 July 2023
Reasons 17 August 2023
The SDT ordered that the allegation against the respondent should be dismissed.
Source: Michael Cross
The allegation made by the SRA against the respondent was that, while in practice at Amie Tsang & Company Limited between around 2015 and 2018, she had failed to advise her clients investing in three property development schemes about the high risks inherent in the schemes and, in so failing, had breached principles 4, 5, 6 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011, and had failed to achieve outcomes 1.2 and 1.5 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
The SDT had not found the allegation proved to the requisite standard. It considered that the respondent had acted reasonably within the terms of her retainer, for which she had charged a modest fee, to set out the wider risks of the investment plan.
The SDT ordered that the applicant should pay the respondent’s costs of £74,950.
Oliver Edward Bretherton
Hearing 27-28 February; 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10 March; 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 May; 12-13 June 2023
Reasons 20 September 2023
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. While in practice as a director at Gowling WLG (UK) LLP (the firm), the respondent had committed acts of sexual misconduct as regards three complainants (A, B and C) employed by the firm and aged between 18 and 23 years at the material time. The respondent was in a position of seniority over the complainants both in terms of age and position within the firm. The sexual misconduct had taken place both inside and outside the office.
Full particulars of the acts and incidents complained of, which amounted to 77 in total, were set out in schedules appended to the rule 12 statement. The SDT had found 70 acts and/or incidents proved on a balance of probabilities.
In respect of A, the respondent had: (i) used inappropriate words as set out in schedule 1; (ii) sent e-messages containing inappropriate content (sch 2); (iii) asked and/or directed to engage in inappropriate activity (sch 3); (iv) touched A in an inappropriate way (sch 4); (v) engaged in conduct towards A that was unreasonable and/or controlling (sch 5); (vi) asked/required A to conceal/not disclose his conduct (sch 6), thereby breaching principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011, and failing to achieve outcome 11.1 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011. The above conduct was sexualised/sexually motivated and amounted to abuse of position/taking unfair advantage of A.
In respect of B, the respondent had: (i) used inappropriate words (sch 7); (ii) sent inappropriate e-messages (sch 8), thereby breaching principles 2 and 6 and failing to achieve outcome 11.1. The above conduct amounted to abuse of position/taking unfair advantage of B.
In relation to C, the respondent had behaved inappropriately, including using inappropriate words (sch 9), thereby breaching principle 2 and failing to achieve outcome 11.1. The above conduct amounted to abuse of position/taking unfair advantage of C.
The respondent’s motivation as regards A was sexual; it was controlling and unreasonable as regards B; and inappropriate, laddish and childish as regards C. He was in a position of authority and there existed a demonstrable theme of misogyny directed at young women.
The respondent had caused significant and profound harm to A, and significant harm to B such that the firm had to put a procedure in place upon her qualification. B had to consider whether she wanted to return to [her team]and the procedure deployed was required to curtail the respondent’s interaction with her at a time when he was a legal director within the team looking towards partnership. There had been minimal harm caused to C.
The respondent’s misconduct had caused significant harm to and gravely damaged the reputation of the profession. It had also caused harm to the public in that it had the potential to discourage young women from entering the solicitors’ profession.
The misconduct in respect of A and B was deliberate, calculated and repeated over a protracted period of time. It was intrusive, indecent and had taken place both at and outside work. While A had wanted to be noticed within the firm, the respondent had taken advantage of her age, naivete and the fact that it was her first job after leaving school.
It was plain that B had considered that she and the respondent were friends but that the respondent’s expectations in that regard were overbearing, obsessive, intrusive and driven by a desire to control.
The respondent had not shown insight. His admissions were minimal and qualified in circumstances where he had either (a) sought to deflect blame onto another or (b) had been faced with contemporaneous documentary and oral evidence.
An order striking the respondent off the roll was the appropriate and proportionate sanction. The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £23,550.
- See here for the full SDT ruling
Parrott & Coales LLP
On Friday, 29 September 2023, the SRA intervened into the licensed body, Parrott & Coales LLP, of 14 Bourbon Street, Aylesbury HP20 2RS.
The grounds of intervention were: it was necessary to intervene to protect the interests of clients or former clients, the interests of beneficiaries of any trust of which the firm is or was a trustee, or the interests of the beneficiaries of any trust of which a person who was a manager or employee of the firm is or was a trustee in that person’s capacity as a manager or employee – paragraph 1(2)(f) Schedule 14, Legal Services Act 2007.
John Owen of Gordons LLP, 1 New Augustus Street, Bradford BD1 5LL, tel: 0113 227 0385, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, has been appointed to act as the Society’s agent.
Godfrey Arthur Brew (deceased)
On 13 October 2023, a single adjudicator resolved to intervene into the former practice of Godfrey Arthur Brew (deceased), who was previously based at Lloran House, 42a High Street, Marlborough SN8 1HQ. There was no attendance.
The ground of intervention was: it was necessary to protect the interests of his former clients (paragraph 1(1)(m) of Schedule 1 to the Solicitors Act 1974).
There has not been anyone appointed to act as the Society’s agent.